My Dear Cassandra
I will give you the indulgence of a letter on Thursday this week, instead of Friday, but I do not require you to write again before Sunday, provided I may beleive you & your finger going on quite well.– Take care of your precious self, do not work too hard, remember that Aunt Cassandras are quite as scarce as Miss Beverleys.– I had the happiness yesterday of a letter from Charles, but I shall say as little about it as possible, because I know that excruciating Henry will have had a Letter likewise, to make all my intelligence valueless.– It was written at Bermuda on ye 7 & 10 of Decr;–all well, and Fanny still only in expectation of being otherwise. He had taken a small prize in his late cruize; a French schooner laden with Sugar, but Bad weather parted them, & she had not yet been heard of;– his cruize ended Decr 1st– My September Letter was the latest he had received.–
This day three weeks you are to be in London, & I wish you better weather–not but that you may have worse, for we have now nothing but ceaseless snow or rain & insufferable dirt to complain of– no tempestuous winds, nor severity of cold. Since I wrote last, we have had something of each, but it is not genteel to rip up old greivances. —
You used me scandalously by not mentioning Ed. Cooper’s Sermons;– I tell you everything, & it is unknown the Mysteries you conceal from me.– And to add to the rest you persevere in giving a final e to Invalid–thereby putting it out of one’s power to suppose Mrs E. Leigh even for a moment, a veteran Soldier.– She, good Woman, is I hope destined for some further placid enjoyment of her own Excellence in this World, for her recovery advances exceedingly well.–I had this pleasant news in a letter from Bookham last Thursday, but as the letter was from Mary instead of her Mother, you will guess her account was not equally good from home.–
Mrs Cooke has been confined to her bed some days by Illness, but was then better, & Mary wrote in confidence of her continuing to mend. I have desired to hear again soon.– You rejoice me by what you say of Fanny– I hope she will not turn good-for-nothing this ever so long; — We thought of & talked of her yesterday with sincere affection, & wished her a long enjoyment of all the happiness to which she seems born.– While she gives happiness to those about her, she is pretty sure of her own share. — I am gratified by her having pleasure in what I write– but I wish the knowlege of my being exposed to her discerning Criticism, may not hurt my stile, by inducing too great a solicitude. I begin already to weigh my words & sentences more than I did, & am looking about for a sentiment, an illustration or a metaphor in every corner of the room. Could my Ideas flow as fast as the rain in the Storecloset, it would be charming.– We have been in two or three dreadful states within the last week, from the melting of the snow &c.– & the contest between us & the Closet has now ended in our defeat; I have been obliged to move almost everything out of it, & leave it to splash itself as it likes.–
You have by no means raised my curiosity after Caleb;– My disinclination for it before was affected, but now it is real; I do not like the Evangelicals.– Of course I shall be delighted when I read it, like other people, but till I do, I dislike it.– I am sorry my verses did not bring any return from Edward, I was in hopes they might– but I supposed he does not rate them high enough.– It might be partiality, but they seemed to me purely classical–just like Homer & Virgil, Ovid & Propria que Maribus.–
I had a nice, brotherly letter from Frank the other day, which after an interval of nearly three weeks, was very welcome.– No orders were come on friday, & none were come yesterday, or we shd have heard today.– I had supposed Miss C. would share her Cousin’s room here, but a message in this Letter proves the Contrary;– I will make the Garret as comfortable as I can, but the possibilities of that apartment are not great.– My Mother has been talking to Eliza about our future home– and she, making no difficulty at all of the Sweetheart, is perfectly disposed to continue with us, but till she has written home for Mother’s approbation, cannot quite decide. Mother does not like to have her so far off;– at Chawton she will be nine or ten miles nearer, which I hope will have its due influence.–As for Sally, she means to play John Binns with us, in her anxiety to belong to our Household again. Hitherto, she appears a very good Servant.–
You depend upon finding all your plants dead, I hope.– They look very ill I understand.– Your silence on the subject of our Ball, makes me suppose your Curiosity too great for words. We were very well entertained, & could have staid longer but for the arrival of my List shoes to convey me home, & I did not like to keep them waiting in the Cold. The room was tolerably full, & the Ball opened by Miss Glyn;– the Miss Lances had partners, Capt. D’auvergne’s friend appeared in regimentals, Caroline Maitland had an Officer to flirt with, & Mr John Harrison was deputed by Capt. Smith, being himself absent, to ask me to dance.– Everything went well you see, especially after we had tucked Mrs Lance’s neckhandkerf. in behind, & fastened it with a pin.–
We had a very full & agreable account of Mr Hammond’s Ball, from Anna last night; the same fluent pen has sent similar information I know into Kent.– She seems to have been as happy as one could wish her– & the complacency of her Mama in doing the Honours of the Eveng must have made her pleasure almost as great.– The Grandeur of the Meeting was beyond my hopes.– I should like to have seen Anna’s looks & performance–but that sad cropt head must have injured the former.–
Martha pleases herself with beleiving that if I had kept her counsel, you wd never have heard of Dr M.’s late behaviour, as if the very slight manner in which I mentioned it could have been all on which you found your Judgement.– I do not endeavour to undeceive her, because I wish her happy at all events, & know [continued below address panel] how highly she prizes happiness of any kind. She is moreover so full of kindness for us both, & sends you in particular so many good wishes about [your] finger, that I am willing to overlook a venial fault; & as Dr M. is a Clergyman [continued upside down at top of p.1] their attachment, however immoral, has a decorous air.–
Adieu, sweet You.– This is greivous news from Spain.–It is well that Dr Moore was spared the knowledge of such a Son’s death.– Yrs affec:ly J. Austen
Anna’s hand gets better & better, it begins to be too good for any consequence.–
[More postscripts crossed on p.1]
We send best Love to dear little Lizzy & Marianne in particular.
The Portsmouth paper gave a melancholy history of a poor Mad Woman, escaped from Confinement, who said her Husband & Daughter of the Name of Payne lived at Ashford in Kent. Do You own them?
Edwd Austen Esqr